Life After People (2008)

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Released 3-Mar-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 89:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David de Vries
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Struan Rodger
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Eric Amdahl


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Life After People was the highest rating programme in the existence of the History Channel. It is not hard to see why. Instead of the sometimes dry historical analysis this show is an all out speculative jaunt into the history of this planet without our presence.

The premise is intriguing if practically absurd. What would happen if we just disappeared? No drawn out apocalypse, no plague across the globe - just humanity extinguished in the blink of an eye. The fact that this couldn't actually happen is no barrier to a group of eminent scientists plotting the fate of the earth over the next millennia.

In short, the show was a huge success because it is fun and of great interest to those with a science fiction bent. The show is feature length and progresses from day one through time period after time period until we see our planet ten thousand years from the "snuff out". Not only do the scientists have fun speculating but it also presents a challenge for the CGI artists to arrive at a representation of the humanless future. The results vary from the excellent to the cheesy. Also gentle ears may have trouble with the narration which stops one station short of hysteria. But the overall effect is not meant to be taken too seriously.

The film benefits not only from the crafty location scout work which dug up overgrown buildings around the US but also the real life, scientific, excerpts which might not justify the premise but make the explanation an enjoyable journey. So, for instance, we are taken to Pripyat in the Ukraine to show how a modern civilisation left to the ravages of nature (including the explosion of the nearby Chernobyl reactor) devolves into a mixed existence after a mere 20 years. Think what a thousand years could do? Each of the effects of nature (such as water freezing in masonry and expanding it to eventual breaking point) is given a neat explanation.

There are also truckloads of experts on offer to give their views on aspects of Armageddon. There are astrophysicists, engineers, ecologists (both urban and evolutionary) and biologists who clearly relish the chance to have some fun with their science. Life After People is perhaps no masterwork of scientific analysis. However it is an intriguing film. Seeing the cities turning into overgrown and literal concrete jungles recalled all those "snuff out" films like The Omega Man (perhaps even more so the Will Smith "remake" with its overgrown metropolis) ,The Twilight Zone's Time Enough at Last, the coming adaptation of The Road and many others.

A fun diversion.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Life After People is presented on DVD in the original 1.78:1 aspect ratio.It is 16x9 enhanced.

The transfer is competent and eminently watchable although nothing spectacular. By comparison to other made-for-TV documentaries it is, however, ahead of the class. The CGI work, as said above, is variable in quality.

The colours are well defined and the flesh tones in the talking head sequences are accurate. There is a variety of stock footage on offer which also varies in quality according to the source.

There are minor spots of aliasing and I noticed some edge enhancement.

There is some digital noise to be seen but overall fans of this History Channel show won't be disappointed in the presentation of the film.

There are subtitles for the Hearing Impaired which give a clear account of on-screen action.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Life After People receives a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack running at 256Kb/s.

This is perfectly adequate for this show.

The narration is high on drama and this is matched by the music which rises to the occasion for every attack by lions roaming through suburbia and buildings crashing back to earth.

The dialogue can be heard clearly and is in proper audio sync.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

There are no extras on this DVD.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release of Life After People contains about 20 minutes of extra scenes which apparently includes deleted material and other bits and pieces.

Summary

    Life After People is a sometimes cheesy but always entertaining "what if?" documentary that is well produced and well presented on DVD.

Not recommended for those who like their documentaries grounded but an interesting diversion for everyone else.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Friday, April 03, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

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